2016 Recreational Boating Incidents
Personal Injuries              18
Property Damage 13
Fatalities 8

Last Updated: 12/6/2016


Wear It Iowa

Wear It Iowa Logo The “Wear It Iowa” program is part of a national campaign designed to educate boaters on the importance of wearing a lifejacket while recreating on or near the water. At least 84% of fatalities nationwide involved individuals who were not wearing a life jacket.

The Boating Education program is committed to providing Iowans with important resources and messages that save lives.

Special Event Permits

A permit is required for regattas, motorboat or other boat races, marine parades, tournaments, or exhibitions etc. to be held on Iowa state waters. Permits must be received by the event organizer at least 30 days in advance of the event. If the event is being held on federally controlled waters, a permit from the U.S. Coast Guard is required.

Vessel Occurrence (Accidents)

The operator of a vessel involved in an occurrence is required to file a report in writing whenever an occurrence results in loss of life; loss of consciousness, medical treatment or disability in excess of 24 hours or property damage in excess of $2000. The report must be submitted within 48 hours in death, disappearance, or personal injuries requiring medical treatment by a licensed health care provider, and within five days in all other cases. All reports shall be submitted to the local Conservation Officer, and shall include a full description of the collision, occurrence or other casualty. If you have any questions, call the DNR Des Moines Office - (515)725-8200.

*Note: If you are required to fill out a Vessel Occurrence Operator's report form, you must also contact your local Conservation Officer or local Sheriff's Department immediately, to report the vessel occurrence.

Vessel Occurrence Operator's Report Form

Iowa DNR Law Enforcement Bureau, State Map with Contact Information

Boating Laws and Responsibilities

This official Iowa boater safety handbook introduces you to laws governing boating and provides general information about safe operation on Iowa waters. 

Also available as a web-version and an eBook





Going Boating in Another State?

If you are going boating out of the state of Iowa, some states have additional requirements for out of state boaters. Please reference the Boating Outside of Iowa document for these requirements.

Hull Identification Numbers

Have questions reguarding Hull Identification numbers?

We have you covered:
Hull Identification Number FAQ